PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Life After Racing: Harry Lodge

Now On Pez
Daily Distractions!
Tech N Spec
Kortrijk- Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Wiggins Bradley (Team Sky) talking to the press during a press conference prior to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne - Brussel - Kuurne races in Kortrijk, Belgium  - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015
Pez Videos
We now know the 2017 Tour de France route, it was announced live from Paris on Tuesday morning. Looks interesting, lots more to come on PEZ on the big race route.
Readers' Rigs
Kortrijk- Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Wiggins Bradley (Team Sky) talking to the press during a press conference prior to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne - Brussel - Kuurne races in Kortrijk, Belgium  - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015
<iframe id="ytplayer" type="text/html" width="280" height="150" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Life After Racing: Harry Lodge
When it comes to the end of a professional career, some slide straight into the team car while some struggle to adjust – like Wayne Bennington, who PEZ spoke to recently. For some, like Jose Maria Jimenez or Marco Pantani, there’s only a headstone to remember how hard things were for them. But for some, like 40 year-old Englishman, Harry Lodge, the transition, “just happens.”

PEZ: Tell us a little about your amateur career, Harry.
Harry: My first two years as an amateur I rode in England, for Chiltern Road Club. I gained my first category license and made it onto the national squad; that’s where I gained my first international experience, including pro-ams, like the GP Isbergues. I also rode the team time trial at the 1988 Olympics. In 1989, I decided that I wanted to be a pro and went to Belgium, ‘for two weeks.’ During that fortnight I got on the podium twice, one of them in the Ghent-Ypres classic.

A team in Kortrijk noticed me and I stayed with them for the rest of the year; I rode the Milk Race in England, won a stage in the Tour of West Hainault and on my 22nd birthday, I signed a pro contract with La William.

PEZ: You had a long pro career, didn’t you?
Harry: I was pro for 13 years, in those days the average pro career was two years. I was with La William, Colstrop, Tulip, Amore e Vita, Ipso, and Flanders. At the end of 1993 Tulip folded; there was an economic slump in Europe and a lot of pros ended up out of a job. I went south to Italy and Amore e Vita, which was a smaller team.

That was unfortunate because I was just starting to mature as a rider; I was becoming a lot stronger.

PEZ: What was your best result?
Harry: I won the GP Anderlecht and a stage in the Tour of Bayern. I had a lot of podium finishes and reckon that if my sprint had been just a little better, I would have finished my career with ten wins. I rode just about everything you can ride as a pro, including the Vuelta and Giro. The only races I didn’t ride during my career were The Tour, Paris-Nice, Het Volk, and Gent-Wevelgem.

PEZ: Describe yourself as a rider.
Harry: I was a very good ‘rouleur’ who would always take responsibility in any break I was in. I was also a good lead-out man, particularly in stage races.

PEZ: Who impressed you as a rider and as a DS during your career?
Harry: Jose de Cauwer was one of my DSs and I learned so much about the protocol of professional racing from him. As a rider, it would have to be Sean Kelly and not just for his palmares: despite his success there were no airs and graces to him, and the fans loved him for his character.

PEZ: Did you plan to stay in cycling, after you retired from racing?
Harry: No, not at all, I was actually going to teach English in Italy. When I was nearing the end of my career with the Flanders team, one of my team mates, Chris Tonge from Scotland, decided he was going to put a team (Endura) together and asked me to help. One thing led to another, and we got the squad together – it lasted for about a year. I’ve never been one to talk about “what I’m going to do.” A lot of people talk to the press before they’ve done anything, I prefer to keep things to myself until it’s done. Like I said, it wasn’t a planned thing, but I was never scared of moving back to civilian life; I had business interests in the ‘real’ world – a sports clothing company.

PEZ: Where does the satisfaction come from in being in management?
Harry: Riders giving 100% is what it’s about for me, that, winning and getting riders on the podium. I managed the Nippo continental team for two years and we gained 17 wins, that was very satisfying. It’s also great when you help a rider get the best out of himself. Paradoxically, something that I’m proud of is telling two riders to; “stop.” They were in their thirties and chasing dreams that weren’t going to happen. Within a year I met both of them again; they thanked me and said I had been right, they were still riding their bikes but weren’t fooling themselves anymore.

PEZ: Is becoming a ProTour manager or DS on your agenda?
Harry: Everyone’s ambition is to be ProTour, but you need a huge amount of money and it’s very difficult to retain control. It’s OK being a DS, but you need to know what’s happening with the budget. I have my own management company with my current team (KFS Special Vehicles) and know what’s happening on the financial front. Cycling is a seductive sport: it’s easy to get carried-away, over-commit and find you’ve no money left and there’s still half a season to race!

PEZ: If you had your time over, what would you do differently?
Harry: Nothing, I’ve no regrets, it was a shame that Tulip folded when it did, but if I was 21, I would do all the same things. In fact I would love to be racing these days with all the new equipment and technology. Cycling is a great leveler, every rider has to suffer, no matter how good they are, in that respect, it’s a sport which has equality.

* In the second part of his interview, Harry will explain how you go about putting a continental team on the roads of Europe. *


Pez Comments

Related Stories